The Life and Work ofPaula Rego: The figurative artist

A Vida e Obra de Paula Rego: A artista do Figurativo

Without history there is no drawing” — Paula Rego

the portuguese artistPaula Regois currently an influential figure, both in the artistic and social world. the british newspaperFinancial TimesincludedPaula Regoin the list, released annually, in which 25 women from around the world from different industries are celebrated with a leading role in the previous year. Over the course of your career,Paula Regohas been building a visual language that combines literary references mainly from works of the 19th and 20th centuries with autobiographical elements.

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Who is itPaula Rego?
Paula Regowas born in the Portuguese capital, in 1935, in the middle of the Estado Novo. This regime and social prosperity abroad, encouraged his family to decide that his studies were at the Slade School of Fine Art, in England. At the age of 16, she entered this institution, where she met her husband, the painter Victor Willing.Paula Regoplays a fundamental role in figurative art, revolutionizing the female presence in the artistic field by exalting the role of women, their pleasures and challenges but also by denouncing political authoritarianism, injustice and violence. His figurative and narrative works, often considered shocking, were inspired by different elements of high art and popular culture, but they are never conservative.

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The vivacity in the works ofPaula Rego 
The turning point in his work came with the series of the girl and the dog. “In it, the female figure clearly takes the lead in the action, while the dog is subjugated and cherished. The girl plays mother, friend, nurse and lover, in a game of seduction and domination that continues in later works. Technically, the figures gain volume, the space gains solidity and autonomy, the scenographic perspective is set.” Since the 1960s, he has lived in London, which has given him internationality, especially since 1987, when he signed with the Marlborough Fine Art gallery. The death of her husband, also in that year, is highlighted in works such asThe Cadet and His Sister, The Departure, The Family or The Dance, from 1988. In the following decade, the works Tempo – Passado e Presente (1990-1991) and the series of pastel paintings entitledwoman dog, which marks the beginning of a new cycle of symbolic women. Demonstrating a criticism of the result of the first referendum on abortion, held in Portugal in 1997,Abortion(1997-1999). These works ofPaula Regowhich were extremely important for the positive outcome of the second referendum on abortion in Portugal. Currently, she is one of the most recognized Portuguese artists, mainly for her realistic works that follow the line of Goya, Hogarth and Beckmann, and for having explored various techniques — from painting to collage, through drawing and engraving, constantly building unique and idiosyncratic, in any medium.

Paula Rego| P55 Magazine | P55.ART"The dance" inPaula Rego, 1988 

To knowPaula Rego
AtGallery 111the exhibition is on displayLongingwith three dozen works, covering diverse themes, techniques, and personal stories. As is referred to in the Vision article, the exhibition is "a time capsule, measuring the transformation of her naturalistic and figurative trait, the expressiveness of the bodies in series such as the one dedicated to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, the autobiographical scenes that reveal the prolonged illness of the artist’s husband, Victor Willing (1928-1988) , the surprising notes – such as Futebolista (2010), with aPaula Regoin sporty poses; or the three remarkable works dedicated to Mary Magdalene, paintings recovered from the cycle of the Virgin Mary (Annunciation, 2002), which refer to the voice (or lack thereof) of women – a constant activism of the artist."

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In addition to this exhibition space, you can visit theHouse of Stories Paula Rego, an institution dedicated to the artist with seven rooms that house an extensive work of painting, drawing, engraving, from the collection started in 2009, allows you to follow the artistic evolution ofPaula Regoand its figurative language. In this creative path, reflection on personal and social events is implicit. Examples of this are works such asthe siege(1976), a painting evoking the Siege of Lisbon, in 1384, imposed by the troops of Castile, to which the curator Catarina Alfaro attributes a “tragic tension that reflects the personal history ofPaula Rego, its artistic isolation and the disappointment felt in the aftermath of the Revolution of April 25, 1974 in Portugal”. The collection is dominated by creations made in the 1980s, as mentioned by the curator: “During this decade,Paula Regoexpresses its desire for artistic liberation, to 'do it more directly'. The presence and confrontation with his emotions through painting is triggered when he establishes a radically new visual language to tell his stories, creating a complex and ambiguous universe in which animals are creatures with human qualities and behaviors, thrown into peculiar situations. , lived dramas that loudly invade painting.
In 2017, the documentary about the painter, “Paula Rego, Stories & Secrets” The director, Nick Willing, the artist's son, worked without a defined script, letting his mother's life dictate the direction the documentary would take. "At the age of 80, and to my surprise, my mother agreed to talk about her life with me and started to tell me stories that she had never told me or that she had never told me that way, without tricks.” - Nick Willing

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Find out more aboutPaula Rego:
From Annunciation to Worship: Christmas as Told byPaula Rego 
the abortion
The Representation of Animals in Art
The Tile in Portugal
Trending Artists 2021

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